5 Tips for DMO Managers with More Questions Than Answers

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<span>5 Tips for DMO Managers with More Questions Than Answers</span>

New DMO Managers Agree on 5 Pain Points

Your supervisor picked you for your position because you’re adaptable, committed, and creative. Still, you might wonder whether this job is for you. Managers I talked to at the PACE forum want help with five issues:

  1. The new DMO managers feel overwhelmed because they have too much to do.
  2. They need more guidance on how to keep members engaged and retain them.
  3. They worry about providing value to the community.
  4. New DMO managers are stressed about navigating their new roles.
  5. They want help with training and coaching teams.

Treat ‘em Right helps managers solve these problems and more with coaching, group training, and online courses customized for individual DMOs. Your first call with us is free, so contact us if you are interested.

Tip One: Prioritize and Delegate

You thought you joined an industry that values rest, relaxation, and recreation, but you are working long hours! We get it. You feel overwhelmed by what seems like three jobs in one. It’s time to prioritize:

  • Put your tasks in order based on 1) your deadlines and 2) which will have the most impact. Note: something due today is not necessarily more important than something due next week. Keep your goals in mind and prioritize what matters most.
  • Delegate non-essential tasks to team members, empowering them to take ownership. Effective delegation will reduce your stress and foster collaboration on your team.

If you’re not using project management software find one that works for you. Putting tasks in your computer will cut your stress because don’t have to try to remember 10 deadlines in your head. You might think you don’t have the money. One of the top project management software systems, Monday.com, has free subscriptions for one or two users. Other plans start at $20 a month.

Tip Two: Make a Membership Plan

You believe in your organization’s mission and want to help keep it strong. Retaining members is one of your top goals (and stressors). Yes, building and maintaining relationships with members is time-consuming. Realizing you cannot do everything at the same time, plan to meet who you can, and find other ways to connect with all your members regularly. That means planning.

Check out The Center for Association Leadership’s Guide to Membership Strategy to see what is working for others. The guide includes questions to ask yourself:

  • How are you engaging members and prospects who are in their 20s and 30s?
  • Is your online membership platform easy to use? Does it solve members’
  • Are you fostering collaboration that benefits members? For example,
    DMOs offer visitor experience education to members’ employees and many
    others who interact with guests.

Tip Three: Focus on the Visitor Experience

The constant pressure to provide value can keep you up at night. Ease your pain by focusing on what matters most – the visitor experience. DMOs have become experts in visitor experience education (VXE) with help from Treat ‘em Right. We customize VXE based on the needs of your members. Examples of successful VXE programs include:

  • Visit Manhattan, Kansas offers VXE to retailers, hotels, restaurants, attractions, and business community employers.
  • Destination Niagara Falls USA engaged taxi and ride-share drivers, travel
    agencies, tour operators, and short-term rental owners in VXE. 
  • The Pennsylvania Convention Center trained its union labor contractors.

We have received dozens of positive reviews on our VXE video series. We believe in video because people retain 95% of what they learn while watching a training video, compared to 10% of what they read. However, for some learners, our hybrid live sessions are best. It’s all about the learner.

Tip Four: Connect with Others in the Industry

In a 2023 survey, 40% of recent graduates said they had no training, onboarding, or support from their managers. If you are unsure of something, ask. Your manager should be clear about expectations on things like your work hours, deadlines, and what it will take to advance in your position. Other solutions for navigating new roles include:

  • Connect with experienced managers in the industry.
  • Attend workshops, conferences, and webinars to learn from others’ successes and failures.
  • Look into Destinations International’s Young Professional Development Program and its 30 Under 30 program – a year-long networking and learning experience for emerging leaders. In an article on the DI website, a past 30 Under 30 participant says the program gave her purpose and a sense of belonging.

“Having peers who share similar struggles and passions has been transformative,” Juliet Velasquez, manager of client relationships and insights, Tourism Economics. “Through them, I've gleaned insights into leadership, skill development, and discovering my true calling. 

Sign up to get notified when DI opens the next round of applications for 30 Under 30.

Tip Five: Find a Coach

Many DMOs do not have structured management training programs. That makes it more difficult for a new manager to learn their job. So, smart DMO executives invest in expert training, coaching, and consulting. Treat ‘em Right supports success with:

  • Skill Enhancement: Training programs improve managers’ skills, from leadership to communication. Our offerings include custom workshops and online courses tailored to the needs of each DMO needs. We start with helping teams get to know each other by taking an Insight Inventory.
  • Team Performance: Coaching helps managers motivate and guide their teams. Treat ‘em Right uses tools like the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team training to help new DMO managers become more productive and aligned with organizational goals.
  • Strategic Planning: We work with DMO managers who want a Visitor Experience Strategy that supports the goals of their organization. With the right training, coaching, and consulting you will have the confidence to lead
    with passion. Contact Phil at Treat ‘em Right or call 314-221-6037 to talk about getting the support you want.

About The Author

Phil Bruno

Founder and President, Treat ‘em Right

As the founder and President of Treat ‘em Right, Phil Bruno has served 43 years in the Tourism and Hospitality industry. Bruno works with DMOs to connect them with their Visitor Economy workers and communities through custom education programs both live and on-line. Treat ‘em Right programs have exceeded expectations in over 80 cities with 100,000 Certified Hospitality Professionals.  Since 2005 Phil has been a member of Destinations International and DMAI speaking at events and serving on the Advocacy Committee, Community Relations Task Force and Visitor Services planning committee.

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